Tiananmen Square 1989

Celebrating 100 Years of Chinese Communist Party by Commemorating China’s Freedom Fighters

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.” – David Foster Wallace

“Freedom is not a reward or a decoration that you toast in champagne. On the contrary, it’s hard graft and a long-distance run, all alone, very exhausting. Alone in a dreary room, alone in the dock before the judges, and alone to make up your mind, before yourself and before the judgement of others. At the end of every freedom there is a sentence, which is why freedom is too heavy to bear.” – Albert Camus

This year the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates 100 years since its inception. The centenary celebrations were grandiose, with dramas depicting the glorious history of the Party, seminars that push the Party’s doctrine on local communities, new slogans like “Follow the Party Forever” being sung, military parades and Xi Jinping delivering a powerful speech on how the Chinese nation has been shaped into a great global force under the benevolent and all-knowing mind, eyes and hands of the Party, bringing the country closer to the “Chinese Dream”.

Chinese Communist Party celebrating 100 years

If the above propaganda is tough to swallow, you are not alone. Even the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), which describes itself as “the online publication of the world Trotskyist movement”, points out the hypocrisy of the CCP – not because the communist creed never liberated anybody and instead delivered over 100 million deaths over the past 120 years (and counting) – but because the Party abandoned its alliance to the red blooded socialism upon which it was founded:

“The whole official celebration is built on the transparent lie that the party has remained true to its founding principles. In reality, the CCP long ago renounced the program of socialist internationalism on which it was established.”. In other words, the WSWS complains that the CCP is not socialist enough.

It is to be expected from a website whose aim is “the establishment of world socialism”, even if this goal is founded on a profound lack of historical consciousness that the authors either refuse to or are incapable of developing by looking at what happens to a country which puts in practice Marx’s and Friedrich Engels’ writings. If you need to convince yourself about the evils of socialism, I invite you to read the three volumes written by French writer Thierry Wolton, “The International History of Communism”, as well as the already well-known study, “The Black Book of Communism”.

To its credit however, the WSWS mentions in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in their article, “100 years since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party”, which was one of the most atrocious crimes against peaceful protestors, citizens who believed in the greatness of their country and, out of patriotism and love for their fellow men and women, demanded a better, more accountable and more transparent government.

Talking about the terrorising night of June 3 – 4 of that year, Ian Johnson wrote: “[…] on that night, soldiers armed with automatic weapons and tanks smashed through crude barricades, killing hundreds, possible thousands, of Beijingers trying to stop the troops from breaking up a student protest. The students had occupied the city’s gargantuan Tiananmen Square, calling for an end to corruption and official privilege and for more open, freer society. […] The carnage lasted hours and the city’s hospitals overflowed with the dead and dying. The message was clear: This will not be tolerated. Ever.”

Liao Yiwu, who was at the protests and spent years in jail as a consequence, recalls in the prologue of his book, “Bullets and Opium: Real-Life Stories of China After the Tiananmen Square Massacre”, that “the official government figure for those “accidently injured” is 300 or less. Surveys conducted at the time by the Red Cross Society of China and by student movement organizations at 100 Beijing-area hospitals suggested approximately 3,000 people had been killed. Recently, declassified documents from the US and UK governments suggest that the number may have been over 10,000, with many more injured”.

Liao’s estimates aren’t farfetched from other sources. For example, Catalina Ribas Segura who did a review of the Chinese-Australian literature of the event, wrote that “the unofficial estimates are very varied: between 400 and 800 killed and thousands of injured, most of them in the streets neighbouring Tiananmen Square, or between 800 and 3,000 deaths and more than 7,000 injured, most o them civilians”.

Tiananmen Square Massacre victims image

 “After the massacre, each faced the brutalities of the Chinese prison system, including “reeducation through labor”. Sexual dysfunction, divorce, estrangement from family, homelessness and joblessness, bitterness and betrayal – this is the world of most former protestors, especially those form working-class and provincial backgrounds,” wrote Liao.

Given the crimes against humanity which the CCP has committed, it is no wonder that the Party is determined to erase this bloody episode from its history, as well as from public memory. The effort to do so started immediately: “No one died at Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government declared shortly after the 1989 massacre. At the time, everyone scoffed at the Big Lie. After all, hundreds of foreign journalists and millions of Chinese had witnessed the army shooting its way into Beijing,” wrote Jan Wong in 1999 for the Globe and Mail.

The tools that the CCP are using to force its propaganda upon the Chinese people, as well as on foreigners, are well documented in “Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World” and “We Have Been Harmonised”, and include: intimidation, brainwashing and financial bribery.

One of the many such examples happened in the 2019, when Australian publishing houses received a list from Chinese printing companies (China has the cheapest and most advanced printing capacities in the world) with banned words and topics that could not appear in any books that were printed in China.

Rowan Callick from the Quadrant details that the list contained “the names of Chinese dissidents, such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who died excruciatingly while still incarcerated in China in 2017, are high on this list. But it also includes those of the country’s paramount leader Xi Jinping and his muse and propagandist Wang Huning, predecessors Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, and references to Tiananmen 1989, the Hong Kong protests, or the Xinjiang conflict, as well as to the island groups in the South China Sea.”

There are strong indications that the propaganda, unfortunately, is working. Louisa Lim, author of The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited, wrote in 2019:

“I was giving a talk about Tiananmen Square’s legacy at an Australian university about two years ago when a young Chinese student put up her hand during the question-and-answer session. “Why do we have to look back to this time in history?” She asked. “Why do you think it will be helpful to current and nowadays China, especially to our young generation? Do you think it could be harmful to what the Chinese government calls the harmonious society?”

To highlight just how effective the CCP propaganda has been, a similar sentiment was echoed almost 20 years ago, in 2000 when the Globe and Mail wrote an article about what Chinese students in Canada knew about the protests of 1989 in their home country: “They defy anything called Tiananmen Square Massacre. One of the students says, “We have not seen these pictures and, even if what you say is true, what does it matter today?” “What does democracy mean to me? 1 don’t care about democracy. I want to make money.” The newspaper continues to say, “His friends nod in agreement.”

This page is concerned with the events that unfolded in the Summer of 1989 in Tiananmen Square, which must never be erased from history. The content will have the following format: an essay with four parts which will be published in full and as separated parts, all linked together. The separated parts can be accessed through the buttons below.

Part one will explore the historical and philosophical background of the protests in Tiananmen Square; part two will detail what happened on key dates, using declassified information from the US National Security Archive, as well as interviews with participants recorded and written down in “Bullets and Opium”; the third part will discuss the immediate and long-term aftermath of the protests in Tiananmen Square; the fourth, and final, part will discuss the CCP’s activity in recent years, focusing on its relationship with Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as on the growing business between Western companies, including asset managers, and the CCP under the notorious term of “stakeholder capitalism”.

Disclaimer: This page is built in the spirit of all those people from China, Romanian, Russia, Poland, Hungary, and other places around the world, who stood up and continue to stand up against the nefarious and unnatural communist regimes, even if this resulted in them losing their freedoms and, in many cases, their lives, enduring years of torture in dark and inhumane conditions. These people, whose names are rarely, if ever, mentioned today, are the nameless, faceless, true heroes of individual liberty, many of them acting out of patriotism, out of respect for the universal principles of the human soul and out of acknowledgement that each life is invaluable. May their courage and sacrifices never be forgotten.